Lockheed Martin, a Bethesda-based aerospace, security and defense technology company, has reportedly invested $200,000 in the University of Maryland's Dingham Center for Entrepreneurship for the advancement of nanotechnology research underway at the university. One of the project's lead researchers has said that the funding will be spent on nanowire technology research focused on developing sensors for robotic vehicles.
However, a section of students at the University have expressed deep displeasure over the University's ties with the defense major, predominantly viewed as a manufacturer of war weapons.
A report from the campus student daily Diamondback Online says that a section of students have long protested the association with Lockheed Martin, considered an accomplice in the much opposed war against Iraq. In spring 2009, students unfurled a banner reading, Lockheed Martin out of UMD, out of Iraq, out of everywhere, over the engineering building.
Various forums have been hosted by student societies and fliers distributed since then, protesting the Iraq War and university dealings with defense corporations such as Lockheed Martin. A campus lecture last year from the Company's Chief Executive Bob Stevens also drew a protest from student groups. A members of the group, College Park Students for a Democratic Society, has openly said that they would not like to be linked to a company that produces machines for killing people.
However, even in the face of such agitation, the University maintains that the most recent linkage will broaden the scope of their relationship with the Company and will have a positive impact on the evolution of new ideas and technology.
Dean of the University's business school, Anand Anandalingam, who has been vocal in support of the research association has pointed out that Lockheed Martin is engaged in several things besides arms manufacturing such as intelligence and aeronautics research and therefore, it would be unfair to focus on only that particular line of business.
There are some students as well who agree that moral opposition to war and weapons manufacturing should not come in the way of university funding. As one English and sociology major Samantha Davis, is quoted on the campus daily, We're here at a university to learn, and we're not learning how to make weapons...It's not like they're showing up on campus like, 'Here, I'm coming to your school to show you how to make weapons,' so I don't know why people would have a problem with that.